Workhorse EW System Helps F/A-18s Fly Safe

Andrew Dardine, Electronics Analyst, Forecast International.

Harris’s ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) radio frequency countermeasures (RFCM) system is in demand by the U.S. Navy. The Navy recently placed a $97 million order for 46 ALQ-214 units to equip its fleet of F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F/A-18C/D Hornet aircraft. The contract also includes the provision of spare weapons replaceable assemblies, plus field support and assembly repairs.

The ALQ-214 locates and identifies enemy radars and jams them to disrupt surface-to-air missiles. The latest version is the ALQ-214(V)4/5.

According to the FY16 defense budget, through FY20 close to $300 million will be spent on U.S. procurement of the ALQ-214. These systems will equip the new F/A-18E/F aircraft that will be bought during that timeframe, and will also be a part of the Service Life Extension Program for the existing fleet.

However, the system has market potential outside the U.S. in conjunction with export orders for F/A-18E/F aircraft. According to prime contractor Boeing, Malaysia remains a potential customer for a small order that could extend production of the Super Hornet into 2017. Boeing has also pursued a deal with Australia, but aside from an order for 24 two-seat F/A-18F models placed in 2007, the Australian market has come up short. Still, through this association, an ALQ-214 export market has been established.

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